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Compared to the great protest marches of the 1980s, global public opinion on the catastrophic dangers posed by the 16,000-plus nuclear weapons held by nine countries (China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) is largely apathetic today. Most people seem to think the dangers disappeared with the end of the Cold War. The belief is dangerously wrong and we risk sleepwalking into a nuclear disaster — and the point to remember about sleepwalking is that those doing it are not aware of it at the time.

As geopolitical tensions rise once again in three different geographical theaters — East Asia, Middle East and Eastern Europe — their repercussions include risks of reversals on arms control agreements. Thus the U.S. accuses Russia of violating the old nuclear arms control agreement on intermediate-range nuclear forces (1987) even while a new agreement on reciprocal exchanges by nuclear scientists is mothballed just 11 months after being signed.

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